Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Listing Codes

red61544

Do you list all codes when posting the first chapter or do you hold some of them back until later in the story? As a reader, I find it disconcerting to get five chapters into a story and find out the author has added "WS" and "Scat" or has changed "some sex" to "stroke story". I seem to be finding the code changes more frequently in recent months and, because of that, am dumping more stories. Why the changes?

Switch Blayde

@red61544

I list them all at once when I post the first chapter. But I can do that because the story is completely written.

Ernest Bywater

@red61544

Do you list all codes when posting the first chapter or do you hold some of them back until later in the story?


When posting a new story I post all the codes relevant to the story for two reasons:

1. It saves me having to add another code when posting the later chapters,

2. One way to upset readers is to get them into a story and then to hit them with an unexpected code in the middle of it. I say it's unexpected because most readers will bookmark a story and go straight to it from their library when a new chapter comes up, thus they don't look at any of the pages with the codes listed and they don't get any warning on the new code added.

NB: The only time my stories don't have a relevant code is when a new code is made available after I've posted the story. When I become aware a suitable code is now available I go in and amend the codes for the story, but I don't always learn when a new code is available. Which is why I like the way Lazeez now announces the addition of new codes etc.

Dominion's Son

@red61544

I seem to be finding the code changes more frequently in recent months and, because of that, am dumping more stories. Why the changes?


Unlike Switch Blayde, I post each chapter as I write it, rather than waiting to have a finished story. I set up codes when I posted the first chapter based on things I planned to include. However, a story can go in a direction the author didn't anticipate from the start.

Would you rather an author put water sports or scat activities in a story when it wasn't coded for at the beginning and not add the new tags?

If a reader sends a comment pointing out a spelling or grammar error, I will probably fix that.

However, I am not going to change story content just because a reader decides that they don't like it.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Dominion's Son


Would you rather an author put water sports or scat activities in a story when it wasn't coded for at the beginning and not add the new tags?

EDIT: Scratch my whole post. I misread your comment.

bb

Ernest Bywater

@Dominion's Son

Would you rather an author put water sports or scat activities in a story when it wasn't coded for at the beginning and not add the new tags?


I take it, then, if you start the story well and later add something that squicks someone, and add the code after a few chapters, you'll have no problem with them giving you a 1 bomb because they never saw the code change and see it as an unexpected appearance.

Replies:   Dominion's Son
garymrssn

I have noticed some authors note in the story description that codes will be added when new chapters are posted or something to that effect.

For me, if the story is good enough to hold my interest for several chapters, a squick here and there isn't going to make me quit reading unless it becomes a main plot device. Even then it depends on whether I think it's a necessary part of the story and that depends upon the skill of the author.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
docholladay

I think one way would be to possibly have something like the following in the blurb(preview) paragraph:

Codes subject to change.

I know it might not be the best answer, but it should at least warn those extremely picky readers about the possibility. Of course I know as well as anyone that there will always be those who still want to complain regardless.

Crumbly Writer

Red, I suspect it's a different process authors are using. On ASSTR, authors list the codes which apply to the current chapter only, whereas on SOL they tend to list those for the entire story. As some have said, it's also a difference between completed and evolving stories, so many authors either don't want to give away what'll happen, or simply don't know where the story is going yet.

They key, and this is important, is that you always list squicks first. If you don't, you'll get 1-bombed and with good reason. If you want to add a threesome or group scene later, that's OK, but don't surprise readers with MM, Scat or WS!

Story codes serve two completely different purposes: first avoiding stories the reader has no interest in reading, and only secondly, finding stories they're interested in.

If an author does feel it necessary to add a major squick, I'd suggest they add a note at the beginning of the chapter, warning readers that they've added a new story element "you many not appreciate", so they're warned what they may encounter. It won't sooth offended feelings, but readers won't feel as caught off guard.

Replies:   docholladay  Capt Zapp
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

If an author does feel it necessary to add a major squick, I'd suggest they add a note at the beginning of the chapter, warning readers that they've added a new story element "you many not appreciate", so they're warned what they may encounter.


That would definitely work and if its a one time thing or element in the plot say suggest they scan past that segment to the beginning of the next segment. I have taken those warnings at times although usually I will read it anyway being forewarned.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

That would definitely work and if its a one time thing or element in the plot say suggest they scan past that segment to the beginning of the next segment. I have taken those warnings at times although usually I will read it anyway being forewarned.

I done that in the past, and even explicitly warned them which potential squick was coming and where to skip forward to if they wanted to avoid it (though linking them to the FS version might be an easier option!).

They key is not to piss off loyal readers simply to interject a surprise into the story.

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

If an author does feel it necessary to add a major squick, I'd suggest they add a note at the beginning of the chapter, warning readers that they've added a new story element "you many not appreciate", so they're warned what they may encounter.


I use this method by utilizing the < notice > coding. This draws the reader's attention since adds the box around my warning of possible offensive material. I let the reader know what type of material it is, without giving details, then letting them know they can skip over to the next < notice > box to completely avoid the material. I then add a second < notice > indicating the end of the topic. I haven't gotten any negative feedback on it nor did my score drop suddenly on those chapters, so I assume my readers are okay with it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

My point was its not just up to the writer, its also the responsibility of the reader. With or without codes a reader has the options to scan past portions or close a story when it offends them. The blame can not and should not be placed on just one person. Most of you writers try your best to notify readers of possible squicks but the reader has to take part of the responsibility. It is why I state flat out that my squicks or whatever label they are given. Are my problem not the writers.

richardshagrin
Updated:

Generally speaking, there is a kernel of truth to the thought that if major squicks can not be avoided, they need to be tagged, either at the beginning when a story is first posted, or before the chapter starts, if the author, as captain of his ship, the story, decides he needs to zig or zag in a different direction. His editors, proofreaders, beta readers, or anyone who is his lieutenant in preparing the work, needs to let him know when new tags are needed. If not done, some Sergeant of arms needs to administer corporal punishment, privately. When drafting a new work, avoid rank odors attracted by missed tags.

Dominion's Son

@Ernest Bywater

I take it, then, if you start the story well and later add something that squicks someone, and add the code after a few chapters, you'll have no problem with them giving you a 1 bomb


I've had a reader send me a comment complaining about being squicked by content that was coded for with chapter 1. The stories I write I started writing for myself. For a long time I have had a psychological block when it comes to writing just about anything, so I see my writing a form of self therapy. As a long time reader at SOL, I decided to post them just to see if anyone else would like them. The scores are at best of marginal interest to me.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Switch Blayde

@garymrssn

For me, if the story is good enough to hold my interest for several chapters, a squick here and there isn't going to make me quit reading unless it becomes a main plot device. Even then it depends on whether I think it's a necessary part of the story and that depends upon the skill of the author.


Thank you. You made my day.

Bondi Beach

@Dominion's Son

I've had a reader send me a comment complaining about being squicked by content that was coded for with chapter 1. The stories I write I started writing for myself.


The issue is how to alert readers to a change in codes significant enough to matter to the reader, not whether to change the story, edit oneself, or forego some theme for fear of alienating readers.

Give the reader fair notice, no surprises, and if the reader doesn't like the story *because* of the coded activities after receiving notice, tough.

bb

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


Give the reader fair notice, no surprises, and if the reader doesn't like the story *because* of the coded activities after receiving notice, tough.


The reader in question had fair warning. In that case it wasn't a later added tag, but one the story was originally coded for when the first chapter was posted.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Dominions Son

The reader in question had fair warning. In that case it wasn't a later added tag, but one the story was originally coded for when the first chapter was posted.


Then it was the reader's fault not yours. Like I have said its a shared responsibility. If a reader opens a story after being warned in advance its their problem. I have done that when I know the writer usually tells a story I enjoy. In those cases I have to give the story a chance, but can and will either scan past those parts or close the story if I have a major problem. Your reader was warned so its their problem not yours or the coding.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Capt Zapp


I use this method by utilizing the < notice > coding. This draws the reader's attention since adds the box around my warning of possible offensive material. I let the reader know what type of material it is, without giving details, then letting them know they can skip over to the next < notice > box to completely avoid the material. I then add a second < notice > indicating the end of the topic. I haven't gotten any negative feedback on it nor did my score drop suddenly on those chapters, so I assume my readers are okay with it.


Interesting. Since I always post using html, I never keep up on the SOL specific tags and was unfamiliar with the < notice > box. I'll have to try that next time (by adding the tag to my html code), which is how Lazeez normally handles it, any time he hits an html tag he doesn't recognize, he simply ignores them.

My point was its not just up to the writer, its also the responsibility of the reader.


Good point, Doc. Readers are famous for tracking down anything containing their particular squick (most often anything concerning gay MM sex) and immediately giving it a 1-vote with no intention of reading said story, simply as a way of alienating and scaring away potential gay authors. It's (SOL's scoring system) that's why we have so few decent gay stories on SOL, and why they typically score so much lower than any other type of story (aside from water sport and shit stories (playing with shit, not badly written stories).

I've had a reader send me a comment complaining about being squicked by content that was coded for with chapter 1.


D.S., I'm always amazed when someone who spends all their time on an active sex story site (not that there aren't plenty of non-sex stories too), will complain that there's sex in stories clearly labeled as such. I've had readers who were fine with the incest angle of a story, but simply didn't like reading the sex scenes, and thus had no idea where the story went after skipping entire chapters which had any mention of sex.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

an active sex story site (not that there aren't plenty of non-sex stories too),


SoL is a story site that allows sex stories as well as no sex stories unlike other sites that have either sex or no sex and don't allow the mixing. The sad things is the number of people who think SoL is supposed to be for sex stories only, when it was never designed or designated as such. In the last few years Lazeez has found he gets more new members by promoting the sex stories more than the no sex stories, but he's always promoted the site as a story site for any type of story.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

Its the huge variety that appeals to me. A bookworm can find almost any type of story that they want. I like the fact I can usually find a huge selection of stories available. The only reason I tend to recommend the FS site as well to friends are their kids. It is becoming a good site for them to find acceptable stories, but I also recommend SOL to the parents for a larger selection of stories. Problem with recommending a particular author or story is I have to know exactly what kind of story they will enjoy. Without that understanding I tend to go with the wide open option. These two sites have something for almost any one.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@docholladay

These two sites have something for almost any one.


I agree.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Of course regardless of site. I think Laz includes those codes for the filtering utilities which block sites. Problem is 99 percent or more of the complaining parents will never use them. Too much trouble for them to remember their own passwords so they expect sites to be able to tell the difference in who is using their computers. I ran into that back in my BBS days.

edited to add: Of course don't block the parents access just their kids. Or at least that was the attitude I ran across.

Back to Top